Marchers carry the LGBT pride flag during the St. Louis PrideFest Parade in Missouri, a state that received the lowest ranking of High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality in the annual State Equality Index ratings. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 11 (UPI) -- More state bills supporting LGBT rights were passed last year compared to bills aiming to oppress them, a new study has revealed.
Last year, 21 of 210 proposed bills in favor of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were passed while only two of 110 proposed anti-LGBT bills were enacted, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation said in its annual State Equality Index.
"As we fought back against continued attacks on the LGBTQ community at all levels of government, 2018 proved to be a banner year for equality as we worked with our allies in states across the nation to advance laws protecting our community," Human Rights Campaign Foundation President Chad Griffin said in the fifth annual report.
Legislation outlawing so-called conversation therapy was passed in five states including Washington, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire and Hawaii while Vermont and New Hampshire passed laws protecting transgender people from discrimination, the report highlights.
The two anti-LGBT laws were passed in Kansas and Oklahoma allowing child welfare organizations the ability to discriminate against prospective LGBT parents.
In 2017, 12 anti-LGBT bills of 129 proposed were enacted, the report said.
"Every year for the last several years, the State Equality Index has highlighted how far we have come in the fight for LGBTQ equality in each state," said Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation Institute, which works with Human Rights Campaign Foundation. "Our freedom is under siege from our motivated opposition, but the resiliency of our community has never been more evident as we continue to win equality town by town, state by state."
Isaacs said she anticipates more anti-LGBT adoption bills and anti-transgender bathroom bans to be presented this year, but they will work with their partners "to hold the line against attacks," she said.
So far in 2019, two pro-equality bills have been enacted while other similar are bills are working their way through the legislature nationwide, the report said, adding that due to the low success rate of anti-LGBT equality bills in 2018, fewer states may pursue these types of laws.
"This year presents unprecedented opportunity for pro-equality gains in many state legislature," the report said.
Along with charting the number of bills enacted, the report also assigns each state an LGBT-ranking, with a record number reaching the highest rank of Working Toward Innovative Equality this year with 17, up from 13 last year.
Four states received Solidifying Equality, the second highest ranking, and two received their highest ranking of Building Equality.
Twenty-eight states received the report's lowest ranking of High Priority to Achieve Basic equality, the report said.
"The strength of the state-based LGBTQ movement is critical to elevate our representation, visibility and equality across the country," Isaacs said. "As we look to the next legislative session, the State Equality Index should serve as a recognition of how far we have come and how much we have yet to achieve."